Ida Lewis Distance Race: Popular Overnight Sailboat Race Set for August
Friday, 21 April 2017
Competitors and sponsors alike psyched for Race Week
Sperry Charleston Race Week 2017 will start tomorrow morning, and everyone – from competitors, to VIPS and sponsors to fans and locals – is pumped that there's a perfect spring forecast for the 22nd edition of the biggest multiclass keelboat regatta in the Americas. With three days of 80+ degree weather, no rain, and reliable southerly breeze on tap for 16 classes of race boats, the cream should rise to the top when Sunday’s winners are announced.
If today’s practice races are any indication, the competition should be just as hot as the temperature; over 100 of the 212 registered teams spent the day practicing starts and maneuvers on Charleston Harbor, with over sixty J/70s practice-racing for hours. While Charleston is known for its serious parties, there’s little question that the racing is equally serious – at least for the top contenders here.
One of those top contenders is the reigning world champion in the biggest and toughest fleet in town, the J/70. Joel Ronning’s Catapult won a hard-fought battle to triumph over the world’s best last year in San Francisco, and he’s in Charleston with a crack crew to continue his dominance. Catapult tactician and National Sailing Hall of Famer John Kostecki may have only been to Charleston once before, but his ties to the city run deep.
“Charleston may very well have been responsible for our success aboard Ilbruck in the 2000 Volvo Ocean Race,” said Kostecki, who spent some four months here with his crew training before winning that edition of the famed race around the world. Kostecki also owns an Olympic medal and an America’s Cup win – the only sailor in the world to accomplish sailing’s “Grand Slam.” He said he remembers his time here fondly, but nothing he learned then will be useful to him this week“Unfortunately all our training back then was offshore, so I’ve got a lot of catching up to do inside the harbor,” Kostecki said.
With a fleet that includes long-time America’s Cup team owner and Farr 40 World Champion Vincenzo Onorato (Mascalzone Latino), teen phenom and past National Champ Gannon Troutman (Pied Piper), and past Charleston winner and sportboat standout Marty Kullman (New Wave) on the most congested part of the tricky harbor, Kostecki has his work cut out for him.
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